• Multilogue Collective

The Smart Village Initiative- An Overview

The Narendra Modi-led BJP government is soon going to celebrate the second anniversary of its flagship urban redevelopment and retrofitting programme, the Smart Cities Mission. Since its establishment, the current government has tried and made efforts to live up to its policy of Speed+Scale, and the Smart Cities Mission is no exception to it. In less than 200 days, 97 cities had come forward to put together their ‘smart cities proposals’ in order to compete against one another to gain a spot in the shortlist of 100 smart cities.

The Smart Cities Mission has been effective into a large-scale urban awakening in our cities, with certain amount of support along with disapproval from many walks of public life. While many of the critiques seem to be driven out of superficial knowledge, some valid points have been raised that have to be pondered upon.

The evaluation of the SCM raised one of the biggest challenges in the discourse of a developed India. Smart cities alone would not suffice the challenges that lie in the way of a holistic development for all Indian citizens. The 2011 census has shown inequalities in the provisions of basic amenities between rural and urban India. Two-thirds of the total Indian population resides in the villages, and with the haphazard urbanization that has took place in the recent years, the rural-urban divide has grown stronger.

The lack of opportunities has driven the rural masses into the cities, and by the end of 2030, half of the Indian population is expected to live in cities. These crucial findings from the 2011 census have driven the following dialogue: